Panera Bread wants its customers to know something: your guns are unwelcome in our stores.
CEO Ron Shaich recently announced the company’s decision to prohibit guns being brought into any of its 1,800 outlets across the country after weeks of consultation with anti-gun activist group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
In an interview with CNBC, Shaich explained the decision, saying,
Within our company, we strive to create Panera Warmth. This warmth means bakery-cafes where customers and associates feel comfortable and welcome. To this end, we ask that guns not be brought into this environment unless carried by an authorized law enforcement officer. Panera respects the rights of gun owners, but asks our customers to help preserve the environment we are working to create for our guests and associates.
The announcement was met with praise by Moms Demand Action, who are now applying pressure on other companies to follow a similar course of action. According to Forbes,
“Panera deserves our thanks and our congratulations for taking this important step, and I applaud the company for proactively consulting Moms Demand Action as it developed and implemented its policy,” said the group’s founder Shannon Watts, who has herself become the focus of ire from open carry activists and the NRA in recent months following efforts to see retailers and restaurant chains change their firearms policies.Watts and her team have most recently spent six figures on an ad blitz aiming to force the hand of Kroger, the country’s largest grocery store chain. As of press time, Kroger KR +2.69% maintained it would respect state and local laws on gun rights.
NY TIMES: Two sheriff’s deputies were killed Wednesday in a shooting that started at a restaurant in a shopping center in Abingdon, Md., and ended near an apartment complex, the authorities said. The suspect was also killed in the exchange of gunfire.
The incident began after deputies from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched around noon to investigate an active warrant for a man at a Panera Bread restaurant, the authorities said.
The man, identified as David Brian Evans, shot the first deputy inside the restaurant and then fled, officials said.
The other deputy, part of a second wave of responders, was shot by Mr. Evans nearby, the sheriff’s office said.
Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler said Mr. Evans, 67, had two outstanding warrants, including one in Florida for assaulting a police officer.
Two deputies from the department who fired at the suspect were placed on administrative leave, as is protocol, the sheriff said.
The names of the deputies who were killed were not released, but Sheriff Gahler said one was a 30-year veteran of the agency. The other had served for 16 years.
Witnesses described a harrowing lunchtime scene inside Panera Bread in Abingdon, about 25 miles outside of Baltimore.
Sophia Faulkner, 15, told The Associated Press that she and her mother had avoided sitting next to the gunman, whom she described as “sketchy’’ before witnessing him shoot the deputy.
“I saw him fall back out of his chair, and the blood started coming out,” Ms. Faulkner told The A.P. “I didn’t know how to process it. My mom said, ‘What’s going on?’ and I said, ‘Get down, someone just got shot.’”
Panera Bread said the restaurant would remain closed to help with the investigation. “Our thoughts and actions now are directed towards the victims and their families,” the company said in a statement.
Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland ordered all flags flown at half-staff.
“Today’s violence in Abingdon and the deaths of two Harford County sheriff’s deputies is nothing less than absolutely heartbreaking,” he said in a statement shared on Twitter.